Burrowing around the Richmond, Virginia – and eventually wider – underground of rap for the last couple of years, Anakin has been making a name for himself with bars that are as slick as they are hefty, along with collaborations with the likes of Pink Siifu. Now, finally it’s time for Anakin to Fly.
Soulful R&B samples construct a gilded path, one that Anakin toes down, igniting the way with character-building skits immersing us in his world for those moments. It’s these lighthearted, almost documentarian inclusions that benefit the rapper.
With the songs bleeding into each other – a feat all the more impressive given the rundown of producers for each track which reads more like an instructions manual of how to create the Ultimate Vibe than a potential chaos theory – it’s Anakin’s touch that radiates throughout Frank, his birth name, sticking his flag in the ground on his solo debut.
Anakin often brings an urgency with his flow, each bar breaking with his voice, snapping like a bonfire night firework. It’s an effortless relentlessness, ensuring you watch but keeps you cautious enough through fear of getting burned. Those personal touches are truly where Frank shines. The legacy of “Sean Price”; his own journey; even the full-force of a Madlib collab fits into the bigger picture – one that attests to not only Fly Anakin’s current potential but also where he can go next.
It’s by no means elegiac, or even a perfect grandstand, which makes it even more special. When you reach the top of the mountain, where can you go next? The stars, obviously, but few can manage that. Fly Anakin isn’t far off, but him tweaking his formula and deciding who to find next or which direction to take, is where the real fun can begin.
Ultimately, where most debuts are the first foot forward, Fly Anakin is beyond that point. He’s established enough to be making an impact, and hidden enough that he can hone those deftly skills to be nigh on unstoppable, and Frank is that first conquest.